A REPUBLICAN LEFT TURN?
NEW YORK TIMES
The Republican Party has begun to move to the left on social and cultural issues, as well as on immigration. Despite the warnings of mass defections of white evangelical and born-again Christians, these shifts will not be as costly as some people, both inside and outside the party, claim. The fact is that on pretty much every noncultural issue – government spending, taxes, the regulatory state and national defense – the Christian right holds orthodox Republican views virtually identical to those of mainstream Republicans. Its members are unlikely to bolt the party. … Withdrawing full-throated support for the religious right…may be a gamble – and may cost the party donors — but at the moment the Republican Party holds a losing hand.
THE SECRET REPUBLICAN PLAN TO REPEAL OBAMACARE
Republicans are doing their best to highlight and stoke the kind of constituent anger that would force Democrats to tweak the law. In fact, if Democrats come under enough pressure, Republicans believe they might be able to inject Obamacare into the broader entitlement-reform discussion they are planning to tie to the debt-limit debate this summer. But that is a long shot. If Republicans hope to completely repeal the health care law, they have to start by taking back the Senate in 2014 and would likely need to win the White House two years later. Still, some Republicans think the politics are on their side.
A NO-FLY ZONE FOR KNIVES
NEW YORK TIMES
In Congressional testimony two weeks ago, John S. Pistole, the T.S.A. administrator, said, “A small pocketknife is simply not going to result in the catastrophic failure of an aircraft.” Needless to say, the events that led to the deadliest attack on American soil tells us this statement is flawed — the terrorists on Sept. 11 used mere box cutters, much smaller than the blades that will now be allowed, to hijack planes. … And there is something cynical in the T.S.A.’s position that knives will not “result in the catastrophic failure of an aircraft.” Does that mean that anything less — the death or serious injury of a flight attendant or a passenger, for example — is acceptable?
BIG MONEY VS. BIG MONEY
E.J. DIONNE JR.
To put it in an unvarnished way, I’m glad some members of Congress will have to think about whether enraging Bloomberg is more dangerous than angering the NRA. … The Supreme Court has stuck us with an unsavory choice. If the only moneyed people giving to politics are pushing for policies that favor the wealthy, we really will become an oligarchy. For now, their pile of dough needs to be answered by progressive rich people who think oligarchy is a bad idea. But playing the game as it’s now set up should not blind anyone to how flawed its rules are. Politics should not be reduced to a contest between liberal rich people and conservative rich people.
OBAMA’S NEW MIDEAST PLAN
… Obama won’t make the all-encompassing commitment in Syria that some want because he fears it would devour the remaining years of his presidency. This pragmatic line on foreign policy was evident during Obama’s trip to the Middle East this month. Though the president is often criticized for his passive, “leading from behind” style, he made some notable advances on the trip. … Syria remains the test of whether Obama can, forgive the term, “lean in” more during his second term. Obama has been slow to see the dangers of U.S. passivity there: For months he let things drift in Syria; the United States had a nominal commitment to strengthening command-and-control within the opposition but no real policy on the ground to accomplish it.